Click on thumnails to enlarge


CG World Interview in english (below)

How do you trained youself before your work and how do you work on improving yourself now? Any secrets you’d like to share?
I believe concept artists are a little like high performance athletes, which have to stay in training all the time. When I was younger, I would identify certain areas in my artistry where I had weaknesses and focus on them for weeks to master them. I remember that in art school, I had problems drawing feet and portraying how characters stand. So I started to draw feet and shoes and people standing for weeks - on the bus stop, in the coffee shop, during school, etc. until I could draw them in my sleep. I still do this today. Just recently, I picked up a book on how to draw cars for beginners. I actually seem to return more and more to basics, like light, color, perspective, and anatomy. Today when I approach a new project, I document much more than I used to. I read books about the subject matter, watch DVDs and endlessly surf the internet for images, which end up in my reference folder. Even when not working, I am constantly recording new images for my visual and mental library.

Which artists once influenced you and who are the artists you admire now?
In my youth, I was inspired by artists who were artistic storytellers and universe creators like Moebius, Enki Bilal, Syd Mead, Brian Froud and last but not least, my compatriot H.R. Giger. Art school opened my eyes to the old masters like Rembrandt and Velasquez. I am also very fond of modern artists of the sixties like Yves Klein, Marc Rothko and Jackson Pollock.

Your work combines art and science perfect and requires you to have a wide scope of knowledge,what knowledge do you need to study except art?
For universe designers in particular, it is important to have a large knowledge base. It is often not enough to simply know how things look. It is crucial to understand how they work. Personally, I am also very interested in anthropology. I love to study cultures - their social, political, economic and spiritual backgrounds. I found out one of the best ways of learning is by traveling.

What tools do you use to create? What are your favorite softwares?
I sketch into traditional sketchbooks. I also still do designs on paper with markers, but most of my paintings are directly produced in Adobe Photoshop CS.

Most works we can see from your website are 2D works,do you also create 3D works and animation?
I am familiar with the basics of Maya, After Effects and couple of other editing programs, but for my personal work, I am still mainly 2D. If I get some time off, I would like to spend more time learning 3D modeling.

How do you describe your style? Do you strive to be as versatile as possible or do you stick to one thing?
As a commercial designer, I adapt my style to the needs of the projects I’m working on. I have done various styles, from cute fantasy worlds such as Final Fantasy IX to the dark science fiction universes such as the Matrix and Dark City. I also switch between hyper-real matte paintings to completely unrealistic-looking game worlds. If I would have to describe my own style, I would call it Digital Fantastic Realism.

You have traveled a lot before,have you ever been to China?How much do you know about China and what interests you most?
In Switzerland, we studied China intensively in school. As a child, I always dreamed of traveling down the Yangtze river and visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing. My wife’s mother is Tahitian of Chinese descent, and we planned our honeymoon to Hong Kong and Shanghai, but we had to change our plans due to the recent SARs outbreak. We still hope to visit China as soon as we get an opportunity.

We heard that you want to find projects to do in Shanghai or Hong Kong. Most of our readers are early professionals in CG field and they can buy our magazines in these two cities as well, they will know you more by reading this articles about you, do you have anything to say to them? Or any advice to students who are learning CG here?

Some of the best work I have recently seen comes from China. After talking to many industry leaders, I think that China will soon become the biggest market for video games. In my opinion, it is important for Chinese artists and professionals to use their intrinsic knowledge of their own country and culture to create and lead the new wave of projects in the years to come.

We got the news that you will release 2 training DVDs and the Entropia stamps soon,could you tell more about them?Can we buy them here in China?
I just released my first two training DVDs on digital painting with the GNOMON WORKSHOP. They are available online:

I am also publishing a book with Design Studio Press. The book is about a fantastic place called ENTROPIA and will be released by the end of the year. I can’t discuss too much about it right now, but I promise to let you know when the book comes out….

You have worked for so many movies,games and paintings,could you take an well known and impressive project as example and elaborate what you did in it?
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and Final Fantasy IX (the game) were both very enriching experiences. For the movie, I moved from Los Angeles to Hawaii. I was involved in the preproduction phase for two years, and then moved to the game Final Fantasy IX, which was simply a dream to work on. During FFIX, I switched from analog to digital design and digital painting so I could return to work on the movie as a matte painter. I learned very much being involved in the beginning and end stages of a project and I gained valuable experience. Thanks to that knowledge, I was able to art direct a team of 160 artists on Electronic Arts’ Lord of the Rings: Return of the King video game.

Anything special character,hobbies or habits you have which make you standout and contribute to your success?
I obsessively sketch all the time and enjoy creating and telling stories.

The lightning story is very unusual experience,which made you decide to go to LA,except this reasons,why did you want to work for film industry in LA as an artist?
At first, I really didn’t plan on going specifically to Los Angeles or the United States. I tried to find work in studios in Paris and Berlin, but film production there was few and far between. In addition, the first two movies I designed in Europe were never made. One night in my penthouse in Brussels, I got hit by lightning. I survived the incident and was fine after one week in the hospital, but it showed me that life is short, and that it is important to try to achieve one’s full potential even if that involves traveling to the other side of the world. I had an interesting portfolio when I went to Los Angeles, but I really didn’t think I would find work. To my surprise, I got hired in Digital Domain and my career simply took off from there.
Today I work with clients from all over the world out of my little studio in the Hollywood Hills. As I am working via the internet, I could actually be anywhere in the world . . .

return to Press index here